Take a vacation. Do it now. Where do you want to be if not here? Do you dream of exotic lands, new people, interesting flavors, unfamiliar smells? Ask yourself what you are looking for, then find the treasure right here at your desk.
With both hands on the wheel I nervously chauffeured my two out-of-town friends from the airport to their hotel.
"What is that building?" They asked, their necks craned and foreheads pressed against the car door windows.
"I'm not sure" I said, slightly embarrassed at my lack of city knowledge.
"ooh what's that one?"
"ummmm, I dunno"
A voice cut in: a lifesaver "oooo, THAT one is HUGE, what is that?"
"Look at THIS one" there was excited pointing and window tapping, "such beautiful architecture." My hands tightened on the wheel.
How could I know so little about my own city? To be fair, I was in an unfamiliar part of town. After seeing my city through the eyes of a traveller, though, I realized that there is so much here that I have yet to explore. I could take a week long vacation in my own backyard and still not see it all.
What I crave the most about travelling is the different pace of life that I imagine. I imagine sitting for hours at little cafe sipping coffee. I imagine smaller portions and delicate flavors. I imagine meeting new people and laughing more.
In reality, the last time I went to Europe I didn't talk to anyone aside for my travel companions, I passed up the cafe in favor of the local Starbucks and I complained about the fact that, to Parisians a Venti Americano is really a Tall Americano in a Venti cup. The risks I dreamed of taking were lost in the fear of unfamiliar land.
So here we are, and all the adventure I seek will knit itself into stories one risk at a time. A different way home, a new coffee shop, a conversation with a stranger, a small delicate meal eaten for flavor.
A salad made in the spirit of fun.
Blend in Cuisinart:
1 cup sour cream
2 diced green onions (use mainly the whites)
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp dried lime (you can get this at an Iranian store..they probably have it in the Mexican aisle of the grocery store too, it is really worth buying. It is good in iced tea and on popcorn)
1 Tbsp chili powder
juice of 2 limes
1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
a sprinkle of your favorite spices. Have fun..seriously..the sour cream carries spices really well. I used some cayenne and some salt and pepper. Chipoltle pepper would have been good.
Cook ~2 servings of shrimp (your favorite size), peeled and de-veined in
2 Tbsp hot olive oil
1/4 yellow onion diced
1 clove garlic minced
sprinkle of salt
1 Tbsp dried lime
1 Tbsp chili powder
after 4-5 min of cooking, remove from the heat and squeeze 1 lime over the top
Dice 1 head red leaf lettuce (I made the mistake of buying a head of bitter lettuce from the farmers market. I didn't taste it. Christina and I had to eat around the lettuce in this salad because it was so bitter)
Add 1 bunch of cilantro (the cilantro had a grocery store flavor. We have been spoiled with fresh produce, it is hard to go back!)
1 diced yellow pepper (ah, fresh and sweet)
2 diced green onions
Top with shrimp, dressing, and fried tortilla pieces (cut up 1 tortilla, heat some canola oil until it is sizzlin hot and add the tortilla pieces. If you add them too soon they will just soak up grease, so wait until the oil is noticeably fluid)
Christina's vote: "All that was missing was seashore"